While Mitt Romney may be riding out his post-campaign days digging deeper holes for himself and enjoying screenings of Breaking Dawn: Part 2, Paul Ryan still has a job to do on Capitol Hill. And he’s just been thrust further into the spotlight: Speaker John Boehner asked him to help strike a deal in the fiscal cliff negotiations, according to a New York Times report.
Ryan recently returned to his position as chair of the House Budget Committee after the shock of the election results, which he coped with by pheasant hunting with his brothers. And though he returned to a standing ovation from his Republican colleagues and a warm embrace from Boehner, he faces a host of new challenges.
“Speaker Boehner has outlined a bipartisan way forward to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ and get our economy growing,” Ryan’s spokesman Conor Sweeney told The New York Times. “With common-sense entitlement reform coupled with pro-growth tax reform. We can find common ground on responsible spending restraint and greater revenue through economic growth, but we have yet to see either a serious plan or leadership from President Obama.”
Paul Krugman of The New York Times challenged the notion of Ryan’s reputation as a budget wonk in a “public service reminder” posted on Monday titled, “Paul Ryan is a Con Man.”
“The fact is that Ryan is and always was a fraud. His plan never added up; it was never, contrary to what people who should know better asserted, “scored” by the CBO. What he actually offered was a plan to hurt the poor and reward the rich, actually increasing the deficit along the way, plus magic asterisks that supposedly reduced the debt by means unspecified,” Krugman wrote.
Given that Ryan is not a fan of Obama’s fiscal policies, it will interesting to see if he can work to build a deal, as Boehner hopes, or if his involvement will lead to more deadlock. Ryan served on the Simpson-Bowles Commission but ultimately voted against the final plan and he declined to serve on the super-committee that resulted from the debt limit brinkmanship.
“I find it very fascinating” said Ryan’s counterpart in the Senate, incoming Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray, of the failed veep candidate’s new role. “Because his vision was actually on the ballot and Americans decided to go in a different direction.”